Brussels Series: Manneken Pis, Snails and Amaretto

Sometimes one can know the character of a city just by observing the people going about doing their business. I can relate to a city like Brussels. This city is well maintain, clean, graffiti free and have very little vagrants. The subway felt bright and safe.

I stumbled on the Parc du Bruxelles while trying to look for the Unknown Soldier Panorama. I must have made a wrong turn somewhere and came upon this place. I enjoyed this park. In a cold early spring weather, there are quite a lot of people running during their lunch break. It reminds me a lot of Vancouver where when the weather is good, people do don their running gears and go for a run.

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In every European city, there is a cathedral at the center of the city. Brussel’s cathedral is called the St Michael and Gudula Cathedral. I had seen enough of churches already and gave this a miss.

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Brussels is a compact city. I came across the Manneken Pis again. Since there are better light this time, I took out my long lens and managed to get a closer shot of the famous sculpture. Sometimes they do dress up the Manneken Pis in costumes but not this time.

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For some reason, all tourist must make it a point to seek out this bronze sculpture. Many tourists are disappointed to find how small the Manneken Pis is.

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I was told that for a truly adventurous food, I should go to the Stock Exchange Building, Buers. This is a major meeting place just like the Trafalgar Square in London, although much more smaller. I spent some time looking for the Jet et Fils stall and found what I was looking for … caracoles!

It’s quite a run down stall from where I bought this. The lady asked if I wanted it to go and when I said yes, she gave me the snails in an old recycled jam jar! Yucks! I was just thinking if they have cleaned it enough.

It came with a lot of soup … hot and peppery. The soup was warm and pretty good in a cold spring day. But it does look like some brackish water though. Doesn’t it look like these snails have been scooped up from the bottom of a river?

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These snails does taste better than the ones I had in Paris. It is much fleshier and had been de-shelled. The meat is springy. I like this. Price? 3.50 Euros.

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On the way back to the hotel, I wanted to stop and get a cup of coffee. I stopped by a department stall called Hema which is a Dutch chain.

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I ordered an Amaretto coffee. I am not sure how to describe this. It sure looked very good, doesn’t it? It had a rich coffee base with a thick layer of foam and topped with some “stuff”. I think they added some syrup called Amaretto, hence the name. This did not come with a biscuit but a chocolate egg.

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  1. I do admire your courage Ben, the nerve to eat them…those snails do look like they were scooped up from the bottom of a river, ja,ja.

  2. Ah, moving north from France into Belgium. Getting closer to my country like that. Lol @ manneken pis though, he’s just legendary yet so absolutely ridiculous. The one in Brussels actually isn’t the first manneken pis though, there is one in a place called Geraadsbergen which as placed even earlier on back in the 15th century :P.

  3. Gosh! It’s really brave of you to eat those snails, Ben! It looks really horrible… 🙁

  4. Hi Celia and Windy: I figured that if the Belgians have been eating the snails all these while, well, I don’t think I will fall sick eating this. It actually tastes quite good.

    Hi Psycho Dude: I know what you mean. I agree the Manneken Pis is so absolutely ridiculous. How it got to this well known is just simply amazing.

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